With 2019 upon us, many businesses may be evaluating their business and human resource practices to prepare for what is to come in the year ahead. As advancements in technology continue to give employees the opportunity to work from nearly anywhere, organizations may grapple with how to provide flexible work arrangements. In fact, companies are faced with the probability that the traditional 9am – 5pm job concept is quickly dying. Candidates are declining job offers that require a commute into an office or a rigid Monday – Friday schedule. Not only are they declining these offers, but millennial job candidates are actually choosing flexible schedules and workplace flexibility over better pay. But this trend is not only applicable to just millennials, as 86% of all employees have said that work/life balance is a top career priority (Boogaard, 2017).
As an organization, how can you fit the realities of business with the expectations of employees or job candidates? Flexible work arrangements can mean a change to traditional work hours, work locations, or sharing your work with others.
While there are many approaches to a flexible work arrangement, the most common include:
- Working remotely/Telecommuting – this gives employees an opportunity to work from anywhere, including a home office
- Flextime – allowing the worker to get the work done in an allotted time frame; variations on when the work is completed is established between the company and the employee
- Compressed work weeks – 4 days/10 hours; again, variations can occur based on business and employee needs
- Job sharing arrangements – two part-time employees split one full-time role
- Part-time work
- Freelance work – hired for specific work, projects or for certain peaks in business activity
While the transition from a traditional to a more flexible workplace can be daunting, companies are finding a true return on this investment. According to "A Plus Benefits" (n.d.), there are 4 examples of real benefits appreciated with flexibility in the workplace:
- 83% of companies that had flexible work policies saw an improvement in productivity
- 58% believed flexibility practices improved the company’s reputation
- 61% saw an improvement in teamwork
- 77% saw an improvement in employee morale
- Engagement levels increase when employees have the opportunity for remote work
While the advantages for employees are vast depending on their work/life expectations, organizations can also capitalize. A move toward flexible work arrangements have also resulted in higher employee satisfaction, engagement, morale and productivity. Employee turnover decreases, while retention, especially of your most valued employees, increases. Not only has this helped with existing employees, but prospective candidates like to work for organizations that are deemed ‘family friendly’ or ‘flexible’, helping to establish “an employer of choice” status for the business. There have also been noted improvements in certain business practices such as customer service, since the flexible scheduling allows for staggered start times, extended business hours and more engaged employees.
As you consider this as an option for your business, encourage and promote open communication with your managers and leaders to help establish what could work in your environment. Keep in mind, providing a flexible schedule for your employees does not mean that you have to sacrifice your performance standards. Instead, be sure to hire the right employees, provide them with an understanding of the expectations and foster an environment of mutual trust.
Need help implementing flexibility into your workplace but not sure where to start? Contact Sage Solutions Group at 734-855-7189 or visit our website at www.sagesolutionsgroup.com for help!
Boogaard, K. (2017). Toggl. Retrieved from https://blog.toggl.com/5-ways-increase-workplace-flexibility-2018/
A Plus Benefits(n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.aplusbenefits.com/2016/03/10/workplace-flexibility-benefits-employers-employees
Dale Carnegie (2012). What drives employee engagement and why it matters. Dale Carnegie. http://www.dalecarnegie.ca/resources/what-drives-employee-engagement-and-why-it